If heavy foundations are not your thing then lightweight, glow-inducing skin tints could be just what you and your complexion are after. And we’ve put together an edit of the best ones that work for every budget, skin tone and type
Skin tints are having a serious moment right now. These ultra lightweight, normally very fluid base products are the product that ties in with one of this year’s hottest trends, ‘quiet luxury’ - where makeup and skin look expensive without trying too hard - as well as the constant trend of no makeup makeup. This is skin that looks like skin with hardly any makeup, even though most of us do require makeup to achieve it. Irony at its finest.
Skin tints are ideal for a no makeup makeup look because that’s exactly what they are designed for. They feel ultra light weight, aren’t cakey in the slightest and deliver a veil of pigment to even and uniform skin tone, which also means the shades are fairly ‘stretchy’ so you don’t need the precision shade matching skills that you need to find your best foundation.
Similarly to BB and CC creams, skin tints often contain lots of skin caring ingredients too but normally without additional SPF protection so if a skin tint is the way you want to go with your base then you need to pair it with the best face SPF for your skin type.
Makeup artist Mary Greenwell told us she couldn't be happier with the recent return to a more “luminous, sheer and natural” finish. “In the 1980s, we never used concealers on the supermodels because we felt to was too mask-like," she said. "We’re now going back to that." We now don't want to knock decades off our faces and disguise every flaw, she said. We want to look like a more rested ‘holidayed’ version ourselves.
This is something we too have been hearing more and more of at GTG, with aesthetic practitioners too telling us that the most demanded non-surgical treatments are those that improve glow and skin texture - such as LED light therapy , Profhilo and radiofrequency. The perfect base for a skin tint, in fact.
Says makeup artist Cher Webb: "It’s so refreshing to see the more stripped back, less coverage makeup looks on everyday women,” she says. "People are embracing their skin are opting for lightweight veils for bases and revealing more of an authentic and effortless feel.”
For the right skin tint for you, look no further than our edit of the best products to enhance your complexion, not hide it.
15 of the best skin tints
The one for dry skin: Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint, £49
Number of shades: 18
This looks and feels like a tinted moisturiser to begin with but it’s far lighter and delivers a light wash of coverage and therefore quite rightly sits in the skin tint category. It feels creamy and hydrating on the skin and blends so easily and seamlessly that you can easily use fingers to buff it in. As with all Hourglass base products it creates a flawless finish that's a bit dewy, a touch glowy but still velvety a the same time.
The one for oily skin: Clarins Tinted Oleo-Serum Healthy Glow & Nourishing Skin Tint, £39
Number of shades: 10
With its pipette applicator this is a true fluid liquid skin tint. It dries down to quite a powdery finish so oilier complexions may prefer as it soaks up shine and can keep mid-day shine touchups to a minimum. It gives a good level of coverage, taking out redness and reducing the appearance of any imperfections. It does come with a fairly strong scent that’s reminiscent of parma violets which will either appeal or not.
The portable one: Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick, £28
Number of shades: 25
Pitched as the stick version of the brand’s already existing fluid skin tint, we actually think this is better (nobody tell Rihanna!). Why? Because it’s so easy to use, you can just swipe it wear you need it and it’s so creamy that it’s easy to blend in with fingers or a brush. It’s also exceptionally versatile. Because of its stick format it’s easy to use as a concealer, or you can choose darker shades to use as a bronzer or for contouring. We sometimes found the liquid version a little drying on the skin but this feels really hydrating and didn’t go cakey at all.
The one for cloudy days: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Skin Tint SPF15, £38
Number of shades: 18
Another skin tint addition that one could argue is a tinted moisturiser because of how creamy and 'lotiony' it first feels, but it delivers a light coverage and as soon as the creamy consistency hits the skin it melts away into a lighter texture, so a skin tint it most definitely is. The fact that is contains SPF15 is a brilliant bonus for wearing on autumnal and wintery days.
The one for blurring fine lines: Saie Slip Tint SPF35, £27
Number of shades: 14
Containing broad spectrum SPF 35, this maybe the only thing you want or need to put on your skin after your usual skincare regime. It has a silky texture that moves really easy so one pump can cover an entire face. The coverage is sheer but it does seem to have slight blurring capabilities too.
The one with the biggest shade range: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF30, £46
Number of shades: 37
There are foundation ranges that don’t cater for as many skin tones as this skin tint does. The coverage is still light though, so if you can’t get your hands on physical samples to shade match exactly, don’t be too worried as each shade is quite stretchy and forgiving so you should be fine getting one that works for your skin tone. It also contains some good skincare goodies; squalane to hydrate and niacinamide to help even out skin tone.
The one with staying power: Maybelline Super Stay 24h Skin Tint + Vitamin C, £12.99
Number of shades: 18
While this does contain vitamin C there’s not enough in there to forfeit your usual vitamin C serum, but some is better than none so it will help get to work on evening out skin tone for a more unified look. What’s really impressive about this one however is the level of coverage it delivers in such a lightweight formula. Plus, it’s sweat and humidity proof, so if you like your makeup to stay put then this is the one for you.
The one for reactive skin: Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint, £42
Number of shades: 12
If your skin is prone to redness and you’re worried that a skin tint won’t provide you with enough coverage then give this one a go. It contains skin calming, and colour correcting tiger grass that counteracts redness in the skin as well as lots of emollients and humectants to keep your skin hydrated and hopefully reducing redness somewhat too.
The glow-giving one: Delilah Wake Up Radiant Skin Tint, £39
Number of shades: 4
The best way to think of this skin tint is either as a tinted primer or a luminiser that you can add to your serum or moisturiser. It doesn’t have the shade range of other brands but that’s because it’s not really delivering pigment or coverage. It comes in four shades that are designed to add instant radiance, glow or a subtle bronze to the skin so you could wear them on their own or even add them to your foundation if you want a more radiant finish.
The hydrating one: Lumene Instant Glow Fresh Skin Tint, £36
Number of shades: 3
We've long been fans of Nordic brand Lumene's skincare (particularly the cleansing balm ) and the skin tint doesn't disappoint. The brand is a master of the no-makeup makeup look, with this gel texture blending into the skin to give a flawless finish that feels supple, breathable and hydrating and contains well as the brand's hero ingredient arctic cloudberry, which is packed with vitamin C. This one's for you if you like a glowy moisturiser with a hint of a tint. It comes in three shades.
The budget one: Lottie London Velvet Skin Tint Foundation , £9.95
Number of shades: 8
Available in eight shades this tint from cruelty-free brand Lottie London has a matte finish but still feels lightweight and is easily buildable. Rather than masking your complexion, it gives a velvety, second-skin appearance. The formula is infused with hyaluronic acid for a hit of hydration.
The medium coverage one: Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Tint & Glow Skin Enhancer SPF 30, £23
Number of shades: 10
Irish MUA Aimee Connolly’s mission is to make skin-enhancing easy and accessible for all women. We love everything we've tried in the range. When choosing from this 10-shade range of medium-coverage tints, which go from Porcelain to Deep Ebony, there's a helpful description of which undertone it suits and which of her best-selling Second Skin foundations it corresponds to. With hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming niacinamide, this really does deliver on the lit-from-within promise at a really reasonable price.
The refreshing one: Chanel Les Beiges Eau de Teint, £51
Number of shades: 8
If you’re a fan of Chanel's quenching Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, with its bubbles of moisture, then this foundation version will excite you. The 'Water-Fresh Tint' is a hydrating serum with encapsulated pigment 'bubbles' that melt on contact with the skin. The result is an enhanced skin texture look with a dewy, healthy-looking finish. It's best worked in with the accompanying brush, so it really does meld with your skin rather than sitting on top of it, though you can layer it up for a light foundation-like coverage. Available in eight shades and containing natural tamarind seed extract, this refreshing tint is perfect for anyone wanting to enhance their complexion’s natural glow. No wonder legendary makeup artist Mary Greenwell uses it on repeat.
The luxe one: La Mer The Radiant Skintint SPF 30, £80
Number of shades: 7
This really wouldn’t be a skin tint edit without the mention of La Mer’s environmental protection tint. Containing the brand’s legendary Miracle Broth, made from regenerative sea kelp, this tint is arguably one of the most luxurious ways to even out skin tone and gain a luminous glow. If you can stretch the purse strings that far, it’s worth the splurge. The tint contains an SPF30 which makes it slightly heavier than the other products, but it does offer anti-pollution and free-radical protection, making it the perfect companion through the seasons.
The cult one: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, £26
As part of Glossier’s 'skin first, makeup second' mantra, the millennial-friendly brand launched this lightweight tint in 2014 that was designed to be thrown on like moisturiser and now sits alongside the Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation. Its formulation was subsequently revisited to ensure that the pigment didn’t change throughout the day and voila! the product is packed full of a new blend of oils and a more extensive shade range. At such a friendly price point and with its long-lasting light as a feather formula, this is a beauty bag must-have.